Dad bods may be in vogue at the moment, but really, who doesn’t want those rock–hard, six–pack abs? Or perhaps your back has been giving you a lot of aggro recently and you want to strengthen it? Maybe you need to learn from the best cardio workouts or increase your aerobic activity.
I joined a gym again a couple of years ago was because my back was in such bad condition that I was told it belonged to someone ten years older than myself. That’s no compliment, especially from the doctor. It had been a while since I could regard myself as physically fit; my abs had long disappeared. But the benefits of physical activity were not lost on me, so I decided it was high–time to get back in the gym, doing the best cardio workouts I could find. I also had to become active and fit by doing aerobic exercise at home and make a difference to my body.
The result – I still don’t have my abs, but my back is far better than it was! Nevertheless, I am a living example of how to get in shape fast.
Of course, it takes all the clichés to achieve your target in the gym. It doesn’t matter if you have scoured the health magazines and internet to find the best exercise routines. You need to have the constant determination and self–discipline, your eye always on the end goal. Otherwise, those abs workouts and back exercises are a waste of your time and money.
In this article, I am going to take you through 12 recommended best exercises for improving your back and unveiling your abs. These will be primarily features of the best cardio workouts and aerobic exercises to reduce fat on both the back and the stomach. There will also be ab exercises and back exercises that you can do both down the gym and at home. The secrets in how to get in shape fast with some of the best fat burning exercises will be laid out for you here.
AEROBIC EXERCISES FOR THE GYM AND THE HOME
One of the key benefits of aerobic exercises is that they are totally versatile. They can be carried out anywhere – whether at the gym or in the privacy of your own home. Or even, if you should so prefer, in the outdoors. They are a cornerstone of how to get in shape fast, and the below listed are among the best exercises you can do to properly reap the benefits of working out.
The first thing to know here is, don’t do this with any weights. Leave the kettlebells alone. You will want the aerobic activity to be low–impact (at least, in the beginning), especially if you are experiencing back pain. If it’s more weight loss to help strengthen your back and define your stomach, then look to the next section.
Walking for exercise, even if that’s just to or from work or the supermarket, is a great low–key aerobic exercise to do on a regular basis. Not just for your physical health, but your mental health too. It releases endorphins!
I will always endorse swimming as one of the best, if not the best exercise to do. And my answer to how to get in shape fast. Whether it’s to strengthen any area of the body, build your heart rate or define particular muscle groups. It’s an all-purpose fitness technique as well as a survival skill. If there are readers here who dismiss this point saying, “I can’t swim,” my advice is to learn. It is the best exercise, and it may even save your life (or somebody else’s) one day.
If you’re like me and cycling in public and on an actual bike isn’t for you, the gym is the best place to go to do some aerobic activity on one of their stationary exercise bikes. Aside from swimming, cycling is probably the best exercise you can do for general fat burning and improving oxygen intake. Which are, after all, two of the key benefits of working out in the first place.
Also, if you have the money available, maybe invest in an exercise bike for the home. That way, you will be able to include this aerobic activity in your home workout routines.
BEST CARDIO WORKOUTS FOR THE GYM AND THE HOME
Some of you may be thinking “aren’t aerobic exercises and cardio exercises the same thing?” It’s a fair enough question, in all fairness. A lot of the exercises you see in the best cardio workouts can be put into the aerobic category too. It comes down to splitting hairs about what each one benefits. Aerobic activity benefits your oxygen intake, while cardio exercises promote a healthy heart rate.
The following trio is just a couple off a huge list from some of the best cardio workout routines.
Planking is recommended by experts as one of the best cardio workout techniques, particularly if you suffer from back pain and want to strengthen yourself in this area. It’s more of an endurance test than a point on a list of back exercises. You lie horizontally on the floor or your mat, raising yourself up on your toes and your elbows alone.
30 seconds per plank will be fine. That is, of course, unless you fancy challenging yourself and try to stay up for as long as possible and try to beat your record with each repetition.
McKenzie Lying Prone
One of the revered and celebrated McKenzie Exercises – another that fitness experts recommend for treating back pain. In fact, professional chiropractors also endorse its practice for patients to treat themselves at home. It isn’t necessarily an answer to how to get in shape fast, but it will help with any pain in the lower back you may be experiencing.
The Lying Prone technique involves lying on one’s stomach. From this position, do a sort of slow push–up, only moving your arms upwards, while leaving the rest of your body flat on the ground or the mat. Remain in that position for 15 seconds at a time, repeating around ten times across your workout.
Everyone knows what these are. A classic among ab exercises as well as good cardio. It’s true – you may look a bit ridiculous while you’re doing them, but if you look and/or feel amazing afterward, who’s to judge you? Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides. Then jump, raising your arms above your head and outstretching your legs as you do so, returning to the starting position as you land. Repeat this for 45 seconds at a time, taking no longer than 15 seconds per interval for recovery.
BEST ABS WORKOUT TECHNIQUES AND EXERCISES FOR THE GYM AND THE HOME
Naturally, you’re not going to get that perfect six–pack just by burning all the fat away from them. You have to work them out too. Ab exercises are all fairly easy to perform, and a number of abs workout routines exist online that prove how to get in shape fast.
Even better, you can do all of these at home. No machines, equipment or weights required. Just determination, motivation and drive. The more intense you push yourself, the faster you’re likely to see results.
I will, however, advise caution if you are trying to work out your abs at the same time as strengthen your back. If you suffer from back pain, particularly the lower back, perhaps focus on your back exercises first. A lot of abs workouts endorse and involve sit-ups, crunches, and other such techniques. These are likely to aggravate any pre-existing back problems, so be careful not to make them any worse by trying to get perfect abs.
Yet another classic from all abs workouts – so much so that many modern ones don’t include them. It just goes without saying – if you want great abs, the sit-ups are your go–to, to begin with anyway. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head, and raise your head towards your knees, before lowering again.
If you’re a beginner, repeat this 20–30 times per set with a 15–second interval, before doing another 20–30 rep set. More experienced gym–goers will probably be confident to do 50 or more reps per set – that’s up to you, though.
Really feel the benefit of working out your abs with this next one. If you’re just starting out or have taken a long drought from the gym, it’s a killer. But as per the old cliché – no pain, no gain. After all, if it hurts, it must be working, right?
Start off in the sit–up position, except with your hands crossed on your chest instead of behind your head. This is where it helps strengthen both your core and your upper body – you won’t have your hands assisting your head as you raise yourself to meet your knees. Instead, you’ll be fighting against the weight they provide on your chest.
Regardless of your level, do at least 30 of these for 45 seconds, take a 15–second break, and then repeat. It may sound like a fierce one among ab exercises, but trust me, you will not be disappointed when your abs will be so defined you can grate cheese across them!
Back to slightly easier one for this next point on our list. It is quite underrated among ab exercises; really, I’m quite surprised not to find it on more abs workout routines.
As with many of these ab exercises, adopt the sit–up position to start with. However, in this case, you will be moving not just your head, but your legs as well. A sort of meet–in–the–middle thing. As you raise your head, bring on of your knees up towards it. Alternate the knee with each rep, doing at least 30 of them in the space of 45 seconds.
Because they work all of the front abdominal muscles, including those just above the waistline, alternating curls are without a doubt one of the most effective ab exercises you will learn.
Another of my personal favorites and recommendations. Guaranteed to get all the muscles in your midsection moving. Defined abs and a flatter stomach – they’re just two of the benefits of working out.
Again, start by lying on your back, and your knees bent – this time your arms will be by your side. Your knees will stay where they are; with each rep you will be pretty much reaching forward to touch one foot, alternating from side–to–side each time.
BEST BACK EXERCISES FOR THE GYM AND THE HOME
The same goes for the back. A lot of back exercises require you to work on your upper body strength to perform them well – especially for the length of time and the number of reps or sets you want to do. Fortunately, some of the aerobic exercises we covered earlier in the article will help you in this regard – especially swimming, which is good for an all–body workout.
Any kind of deadlift will do you’re back a world of good, whether to work out a load of the tension and pain, or just add to its strength. Deadlifts form an entire subfamily of back exercises involving weights. Our advice is to stick with the conventional version before trying variations you pick up at the gym or on the internet.
You start with your barbell on the ground, before bringing it up to no higher than your mid–thighs. Your knees and hips should be locked by this point until you return the weight. When you do so, only bend your knees. Move your hips back, rather than leaning inward. You will be recommended to do five reps per set for this.
Another workout classic – a well–earned member of a group of effective back exercises, and also great for losing weight. Again, any form of a pull–up will be great for your back workout. Whether you’re using the equipment at the gym or have your own pull–up bar installed at home, the underhand pull–up gets our recommendation in how to get in shape fast.
That involves hanging from the bar with your arms straight and at shoulder–width apart. Bend your elbows to bring your chest up to the bar, up to a point where you can just peer over the top. That’s when you can try to stay there for a few seconds, then lower yourself back down slowly.
DON’T FORGET TO BUY…
You will not feel the benefit of working out during your abs workouts without some decent cushioning under your back. That’s where this 15mm–thick memory foam–padded yoga mat will come in useful. There’s a limit when it comes to the “no pain, no gain” mindset, after all.
Your home–gym should at least be equipped with a reliable pull–up bar – instrumental for many effective back exercises. This one from Fitojo gets my vote every time. Not only is it great for building muscle but its versatility is great. Either mount it on the wall or fit it to a doorway. Whatever is more convenient for you.
If you fancy keeping your abs workouts private, away from the gym, buying this kit will enable you to do a fair few of the more complex ab exercises with little trouble.